How to Sober Up Fast
Drinking, whether with family, friends, or colleagues, can be fun but equally challenging, especially when you cannot hold this liquor well. If you are less of a social drinker, attending a party with alcohol can prove disastrous for you, given your possibly low tolerance to alcohol. While the heat of the moment may force you to drink more and enjoy every single minute of it, what follows next can be extremely difficult to deal with.
If you have consumed a little too much alcohol but need to sober up for the big day at work tomorrow, below are some tips on how to sober up fast.
Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to a hangover that begins a few hours after the drinking session stops. While the exact symptoms of a hangover may vary depending on the amount of alcohol you consumed, some common ones include:
- Decreased attention span
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea
- Increased sensitivity to noise and light
- Muscle pains
- Overall weakness
- Extreme tiredness
- Anxiety, depression, or irritation
Remember that most of these unpleasant hangover symptoms tend to go away on their own within 24 hours. If they persist beyond this limit, seeking medical attention to rule out the possibility of an alcohol withdrawal is necessary.
Predicting how long someone will take to sober up after a binge drinking session is impossible. There are different definitions of what it means to achieve sobriety, and all of them vary considerably. One individual may behave soberly even after having several drinks and a high BAC, while the other may get drunk after consuming a small amount of alcohol.
Some factors that affect how long it takes for someone to sober up include the following:
- The number of drinks they consumed
- How quickly they drank
- Current body weight
- How often do they drink
- Sex, since females tend to have a higher BAC for a longer time due to more body fat
- Whether they ate before drinking
- Whether they have an alcohol use disorder
- Their current health status
Keep in mind that most of these factors do not change how quickly the body breaks down alcohol, excluding the number of drinks consumed and the duration of a drinking session. Each body metabolises alcohol at the same standard rate; these factors only determine how quickly and severely you get drunk.
Remember that you cannot force yourself to sober up any faster than usual. Nevertheless, there are a few tips you can follow to make the process of attaining sobriety easier and more comfortable.
Get some sleep
Sleeping is one of the most effective ways to sober up comfortably. As you sleep, the body focuses on resting and recovery, giving the liver a chance to metabolise alcohol and flush it out more efficiently. While some people feel a lot better even after a short nap, getting more hours of sleep is recommended. The more sleep you get, the more soberer you will feel when you wake up.
Consume healthy foods and fruit juices
Consuming fruit juices and healthy foods can help your body handle the effects of intoxication in a much better way the following morning. Ensure you eat foods rich in fructose and vitamins B and C to support your liver health.
Sip on water
Make sure you drink a lot of water following a drinking session. This is important because alcohol often dehydrates a body and worsens hangover symptoms. In such circumstances, water can not only rehydrate the body but also help flush out toxic residues generated as the liver breaks down alcohol.
It would be wrong to say that coffee can sober you up faster than usual. However, consuming this beverage can help you better deal with the hangover symptoms the following morning. It combats fatigue and energises your mind so that you can start your day without feeling weak and wobbly.
There are a lot of myths circulating on social media under the false pretence of the “quickest way to sober up.” With so much suspicious and misleading data, it is essential to know that none of the remedies we know so far can clear up alcohol faster than our liver is capable of. While some tips, like the ones mentioned above, do make a difference, many are based on false notions and must not be tried. These include:
Taking a cold shower
Many people believe that bathing in cold water can break the symptoms of a hangover. However, remember that it is not practically possible to achieve sobriety with this tip. In fact, things may go sideways if you try it out, as the shock of a cold shower can induce unconsciousness in intoxicated people.
Eating fatty food
While having a meal does interrupt the absorption of alcohol and slows it down, it cannot do anything for you once you are already intoxicated.
Some people believe throwing up is one of the best ways to sober up as they would ideally be flushing out all those shots they had in a bar. But since alcohol makes its way to the bloodstream extremely fast, it is impossible to vomit it out.
People have many personal beliefs on how exercise can sober them up. Some believe that it makes them feel more alert and awake, while others say that it speeds up the metabolism of alcohol. However, scientific evidence supporting either of these claims is insufficient and inconclusive. You may feel a little more aware and energised after exercise, but you will still be intoxicated.
Carbon or charcoal capsules
Because charcoal or carbon capsules absorb impurities, some people believe they can help clear alcohol from their bodies to sober them up faster than usual. However, no scientific evidence has backed this claim so far.
If you have a social event coming up where there’s going to be alcohol, the following are some tips to practice if you wish to reduce your risk of getting intoxicated:
Avoid drinking on an empty stomach
Having food in your stomach slows down the process of absorption of alcohol. So make sure to have a meal before you go out for drinks. Prefer something fatty, such as something with eggs, butter, or poultry.
Keep a check on your alcohol intake
Instead of chugging your beverage, sip and drink. Take it slow and savour the flavour; in doing so, you will have a better chance of lasting longer in social drinking. If possible, stick to one drink per hour, as this will give your liver enough time to process and flush it out of the body before you have the next one.
Set a limit
Depending on your alcohol tolerance, set a limit well in advance and stick to it. If you know that three beers can quickly get you drunk, do not try to exceed this amount and try spacing them out far enough to avoid getting wasted.
Have a partner
If you have someone who wants to keep tabs on their drinking, pair up and look out for each other. Signal to each other when things seem to get out of hand.
How is alcohol absorbed in the body?
As soon as you take a sip of an alcoholic drink, it reaches the stomach, and the small intestine crosses its lining and absorbs it into the bloodstream. Some alcoholic beverages tend to get absorbed more rapidly than others, mainly because they have a higher concentration of alcohol in them. For instance, hard liquor contains 45 per cent alcohol compared to beer which has only 5 per cent alcohol in it. As a result, a shot of the former is likely to increase the blood alcohol content (BAC) faster than a standard drink of beer. Sometimes, factors may alter this rate, such as the current body weight, the presence of food in the stomach, and whether you are drinking a carbonated alcoholic drink.
How fast does the liver process alcohol? Can you speed it up?
As soon as alcohol makes its way to the bloodstream, the liver receives it and starts breaking it down. It usually takes a normally-functioning liver around one hour to break down one standard drink or one ounce of liquor. If you continue to drink faster than your liver can process, the BAC continues to increase, making you feel drunk. Despite all the myths, there is no way to speed up the rate at which the liver processes alcohol. Nevertheless, specific remedies exist that help you feel better under the influence of alcohol and help you reach sobriety more comfortably.
How long will alcohol stay in my body?
To get an idea of how long alcohol lingers in your system, it is essential to consider different types of tests measuring BAC. While most law enforcement agencies use a breathalyser or a blood test to confirm if someone is drunk, plenty of other tests can detect traces of alcohol for a long time following the last drink. These tests include
A urine test that may measure alcohol traces up to 80 hours after the last drink, depending on how recently and how much alcohol you had
Saliva test that detects alcohol for t2 to 48 hours
A blood test that may provide a positive result for up to 90 days
Hair test that may give a positive result for up to 90 days
It is important to remember that even if any of the tests mentioned above come out positive, it does not mean you have not been sober ever since your last drink. The results just mean that there are some traces of alcohol still inside your system that the liver is working on.
How long does it take to sober up from alcohol naturally?
The time required to sober up someone is usually around 12 hours after the last drink. However, this estimated time may vary depending on the person’s health status and how much alcohol they consumed. As mentioned before, the liver breaks down one standard drink every hour. Depending on the type of beverage you are consuming, a standard drink can be any one of the following:
8 fl oz of malt liquor with 8 per cent of alcohol
5 fl oz of wine with 12 per cent alcohol
12 fl oz of beer with 5 per cent alcohol
1.5 fl oz of distilled spirit with 40 per cent alcohol
Does eating sober you up?
Drinking when you have a stomach full of fatty food can interfere with the absorption of alcohol and make the process a lot slower. In other words, having a meal before a drinking session can slow down the rate at which you get drunk. However, once the alcohol is in your blood, it is too late for food to do its magic.
Does water sober you up?
Just like food, water has no role in sobering you up. Consuming it before and during a drinking session can slow down the absorption of alcohol. Moreover, having it after you are drunk can reduce the effects of a hangover the following morning. Other than this, water cannot help you against the effects of alcohol in any way.
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